really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
44,232 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2003 BMW 318 seat belts / air bags problems

seat belts / air bags problem

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2003 BMW 318 Owner Comments

problem #19

Oct 102016


  • miles


Takata recall. After waiting 9 months for replacement of passenger side air bag I received another recall notice for the drivers side airbag. It has now been nearly 15 months and no remedy in sight. Received a " final remedy available " letter dated Sept. 2016 asking that I call dealer for repair. Called local dealer October 10/16 and was told no parts are available.I have not had full use of my vehicle for nearly 2 years and see no remedy coming anytime soon.

- Manlius, NY, USA

problem #18

Jul 012015


  • 76,000 miles
Takata inflators. Manufacturer has not pursued the existing recall in even a remotely timely manner. I was notified by letter dated July 2015 of the recall. That was over 14 months ago! I called my local BMW service center who informed me the required parts were still not available. The representative here at safecar.gov notified me that parts are available. When I contacted manufacturer "national recall call center" (800-831-1117), as recommended by rep here at safecar, they said they weren't for my VIN. When I informed them I had inquired here with this Agency and was told the parts were available, the national center said they'd call me back in 48 hours. They never did. Does anyone take these safety recalls seriously? the manufacturer certainly isn't.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #17

Aug 102016

318 6-cyl

  • miles
I sent you my first complaint on or around August 10, 2016, and only received a 'thank you' return note, and that you would get back to me. You have not! to recapitulate the earlier complaint, I received recall campaign no. 15V-318 in July 2015, and have since not received anything from BMW. I called BMW customer relations around August 4, to find out the status of the airbag replacement. After getting no information from the first customer relations person, I was connected to a supervisor who also gave me no information. I asked when I could expect a airbag replacement - they told me 'probably before the end of the year'. I told them this was an unacceptable, dangerous situation, with the supervisor's response that 'nobody had died in a BMW of an airbag incident'. while it is good nobody has died, the response was less than acceptable. It is now a week later, August 18 - and still no further response from BMW or from the NHTSA. You guys have been working this - is it safe to drive my car or not" are you asking or working with BMW to resolve this? when can I expect a replacement airbag, or at least a response from BMW or the NHTSA" please get back to me - your in-action is not acceptable either. Sincerely, [xxx] information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Redondo Beach, CA, USA

problem #16

Aug 022016


  • miles


Dear sirs: I received a recall notice (15V-318) in July 2015, for the front, driver's side airbag recall for my 2003 BMW 330I. Since that time I have not received any additional correspondence from BMW or anyone, to provide status. I called bmwusa, customer service on August 2, 2016 - I first talked to anthony smith, who recited prescribed verbage, that I would be contacted once replacement airbags were received. I asked when - he could only say 'probably before the end of 2016'. I told him BMW's handling of this was less than acceptable, and asked to talk to a supervisor - I was connected to a person named cole, who refused the courtesy of providing a last name, only his extension of X8917. I asked cole when I could expect to receive a replacement airbag; he could not answer that. I told cole I was deeply upset for not receiving any information (at all) from BMW since July 2015, and was deeply concerned for my safety and that of my passengers. He would only say that 'no one had died' of an airbag incident in a BMW - yet, and could offer no other options or comfort for me. I wrote an email letter to bmwusa that same day, detailing what I wrote in this note, receiving a note back from bmwusa (correspondence 1-7149508707), thanking me for my writing them, and that they had forwarded my email to cole for review - and of course I have not heard from them since. Its obvious that bmwusa customer relations group is less than compassionate for their customers. My friends that work at Honda are telling me to 'get out my car', regardless of what BMW is saying - this is a dangerous, unacceptable risk. Please let me know what you think - I think at the very least that BMW should put me in a safe car until they can replace this defective airbag. Thanks for your time.

- Redondo Beach, CA, USA

problem #15

Aug 022013


  • miles
This is a California car parked outside from 2003-2014. From 2014-2016 is has been parked outside in North Carolina. I would think a 13 year old car with this history would be in the priority a group. It is been hot and humid its entire life. It needs to be replaced now. It's just a matter of time.

- Morrisville, NC, USA

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problem #14

Feb 102015


  • 96,000 miles
"takata recall" the drivers door air bag light came on and would not go off. So we took the car to BMW dealer and was told the air bag was defective. We were given a recall # 15V318, its over a year we have been waiting for car to be repaired and when we call BMW at 1-800-831-1117 to check we were told that they will get to it in good time so we should wait, it is now April how much longer do we have to wait? no one can give us an answer

- Port St Lucie, FL, USA

problem #13

Nov 182015


  • 85,600 miles


Purchase a 2003 BMW 325I on 11-18-2016. Unable to take possession of the vehicle from the dealer due to the outstanding takata airbag recall. The dealer is not a BMW store and I don't blame them for letting a customer get into a unsafe vehicle. BMW is dragging their feet on the repair of these defective airbags.

- Hollywood, FL, USA

problem #12

Sep 012014


  • miles
I have been on hold since the fall of 2014 on a driver side airbag. The dealer has no inventory and no eta. This is unacceptable. Dodge changed my airbag (also takata) within 10 days of my recall notice. It's been over a year and a half with BMW. Penalize them like you did fca

- Easley, SC, USA

problem #11

May 282015


  • 75,000 miles
BMW of North America has failed to notify about two air bag recalls, one for the passenger side and one for the driver side, affecting my car, even though they have verified that they have my correct address. I have contacted them for each incident, twice in 2014 for the first recall and once on 9/24/2015 for the current recall.they have not been able to explain why they do not contact me.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #10

Jul 272015


  • 113 miles
BMW of champaign, Illinois has refused to repair my airbags. I have attempted to resolve this problem through their attorney, david sholem. His response has been to hang up on me or not respond at all. This is a serious problem, as they have agnoliged ( copy available). I have asked for at least financial assistance to travel to another BMW dealer nearly 100 miles away to relieve the hardship they created. BMW champaign is located less than 2 miles from my residence.I purchased this vehicle from BMW of champaign with an open recall even though the vehicle was advertised as being "fully reconditioned.

- Savoy , IL, USA

problem #9

Oct 012014

318 6-cyl

  • 60,000 miles


Almost 6 months ago, I was notified by BMW about a recall because of air bag(s) and was advised that I would be called shortly for repair/ replacement. Contacted BMW numerous times by phone and mail and every time was advised that parts should be in shortly. If they cannot find the parts for so long, there should be some alternate. Knowing a safety issue and not correcting it and letting the driver(s) on a chance for a tragedy should not be acceptable.

- Edison, NJ, USA

problem #8

Feb 202015


  • miles
The contact owns a 2003 BMW 3 series. The contact received notification of NHTSA campaign number: 14V428000 (air bags) however, the part needed to repair the vehicle was unavailable. The contact stated that the manufacturer exceeded a reasonable amount of time for the recall repair. The manufacturer was not notified of the issue. The contact had not experienced a failure. The VIN was unavailable.

- San Francisco, CA, USA

problem #7

Feb 032015

318 6-cyl

  • 10,800 miles
Last year we were notified by BMW us that our car was being recalled for the passenger side airbag malfunction and BMW dealers were responsible to fix the problem. Since then we have contacted BMW us numerous times and our local san francisco BMW dealer to schedule an appointment. Unfortunately, we were repeatedly told the same answer that we will have to wait until the parts are available for replacing the air bag. Finally, we were able to set up an appointment with our BMW local dealership for February 4, 2015. When we took the car there, we were told once again, by their 'service consultant rubi huey, that there are still no parts available to fix it and they could not even give us an approximate date as to when they would take care of this serious problem. Needless to say that we are very frustrated with this situation not only that BMW is not making the necessary effort to resolve this dangerously essential and hazardous repair which is necessary to being able to sell the car, which is a huge priority for us. We hope that you can resolve this problem soon. Thank you.

- Burlingame, CA, USA

problem #6

Sep 012014

318 6-cyl

  • miles
In September 2014 I received a notice re: Recall campaign no. 14V-428 front passenger air bag. In the event of a crash necessitating deployment of the front passenger's air bag, excessive internal pressure could cause rupture of the air bag inflator, resulting in metal fragments striking and potentially seriously injuring the front passenger or other passenger. BMW has done nothing to replace this air bag. They continue to say that they have not received the parts. This is unacceptable in that 4 months have passed with nothing resolved. I, along with other BMW drivers, are at risk and we need you to take action for all of us.

- Minneapolis, MN, USA

problem #5

Dec 012014

318 6-cyl

  • miles
Re: campaign # 14V-428 I received an 'important safety recall' regarding a defective passenger airbag. I have been in touch via email and phone calls with BMW of North America to no avail. They advise they do not have parts yet. My dealer, habberstad, huntington, NY also advises they do not have parts. I am on a list to be serviced when parts are received. This letter is dated September 2014, it is now December 23, 2014 and I am still riding in a deathtrap. I have been advised not to have any front passengers or store anything on the seat! I cannot have my 3 grandchildren in the car or any other passengers. This is absurd! I have given BMW 3 fair options: 1-secure the necessary parts to make my auto safe...2-give me a loaner until such time...or buy the car from me at a very fair price (as I couldn't sell it privately) so I can purchase another car. Why isn't the consumer's safety a top priority, and what is being done by the NHTSA to ensure this"?"

- East Northport, NY, USA

problem #4

Aug 012014


  • 38,000 miles
I have contacted a BMW dealer and BMW usa regarding the takata airbag recall. The dealer has been unable to secure the part and has contacted other dealers to secure an airbag. None have been available. This recall began in August. I was not notified by BMW usa regarding the recall and searched the safecar.gov data and found my vehicle was implicated. The dealer advised me not to drive the vehicle with a passenger inside until the part is replaced. I contacted BMW usa this week inquiring as to when this part will be available. I informed the customer service representative that this vehicle has not been driven for several months. Fortunately, this is not my primary vehicle. I was informed that BMW is dilegently working to solve this issue but the parts were unavailable and there is no time frame for when they would be available. When I voiced my concern that (1) I was the only owner of the vehicle (10 years) and had not been informed of the recall. I was told my file had been recently updated. (2) I was dissatisfied with this unacceptable response and concerned that I cannot drive this vehicle, the customer service rep informed me that she had no further information to provide and that I was rude; this was not a personal attack on me and that I had no reason for attacking her for the information that she provided. I implore your organization to ensure that BMW usa expedite this recall and replacement of parts so that I can drive this vehicle without further safety concerns. I appreciate your attention to this matter.

- Reisterstown, MD, USA

problem #3

Oct 152014

318 6-cyl

  • 119,000 miles
Re: BMW airbag recall campaign 14V428 upon receiving the recall notice I immediately called my local dealer. BMW's authorized and franchised dealership (century BMW in grenville, SC ) informed me that BMW usa would contact us as parts became available. A month passed since receiving the initial NHTSA 14V428 notice (tanaka airbag) and I had no follow up. Therefore, I called century BMW again this morning : this time they took my info and are ordering the parts. BMW may a have contingent liabilities as some people are most likely waiting for another notice from BMW usa; based on the dealers initial representations. Recalls are never a pleasant experience but the risks associated with this safety defect merit serious action and follow-up as some owners were notified to wait for a 2nd notice from BMW usa...and none has come in 30+ days. I understand oems and tanaka are probably scrambling to get "good parts" but this "tactic" or error in misinforming owners is putting the public at risk. People have died because of this defect and owners are awaiting a 2nd notification that may never come. I am glad I followed-up myself. Please force BMW to inform the public correctly on parts availability. BMW has the responsibility to contact registered owners. Owners are presently waiting. Misinformed and driving (literally) a ticking time bomb that can, and has, exploded and injured/killed people..

- Easley, SC, USA

problem #2

Oct 092014

318 6-cyl

  • 139,904 miles
I was traveling N/B on route 1 in elkridge Maryland @ intersection ducketts lane on 10/9/14 @ 4:47 pm. I was involved in a 4 car pile up crash, I was stopped - the vehicle behind me was struck by a speeding motorist which caused a chain reaction & struck my BMW and knocking me into the vehicle in front of me. Both front airbags exploded with caused a severe burn to my right hand. My vehicle was a total loss and the at-fault driver's insurance has possession of the vehicle. I was immediately taken by ambulance to the hospital with other injuries. Appropriately two weeks before the accident, I received a letter stating that there was a recall on my vehicle, and parts were not available to fix the vehicle, and I would be contacted at a later time. I called and reported this incident to BMW North America this morning - they stated that an executive would get back to me in 1-3 business days.....updated 11/18/14 updated 8/4/2015

- Halethorpe, MD, USA

problem #1

May 102014

318 6-cyl

  • 140,000 miles
Traveling South on 75, driver door bag deployed for no reason. Applied brakes and ran off side off road to keep from having a car rear end me and then right tire blew out due to drop off. Car shut down by itself. Air bags did not completely deploy. Over head strap hit head and neck area causing soreness and headache. Door air bag caused fragments to hit hand and tore off skin.I thought car was on fire due to smoke smell of wires burning, removed strap off neck and got out of car. If traffic had been heavy there would have been a major wreck. If I had been on 2 lane highway I would have hit head on another vehicle. Monday called BMW and they said someone would call me back. I called every day for a week and was told to leave msg with case mgr which I did. 10 days later case mgr called and said bags are not suppose to fully deflate and she would have car towed to nearest dealer for engineer to look at and once they have car it could be another 2-3 weeks before he looks at car and not to expect any repairs. She also said she does not find any recalls for this car. I told her I found info on internet.now I am out of car and waiting on BMW to look into. BMW case #[xxx]. NHTSA campaign number 13V172000. + usa today May 7,2013. + suit claims air bags defective (www.consumeraffairs.com/automotive/BMW.html). + los angles times-BMW recall air bags that could spray shrapnel Dec 16,2013. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Ky, KY, USA

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